Is there an 'I' in teams?

Is there an 'I' in teams?

Most of us will be familiar with the term ‘there is no ‘I’ in teams’. This statement is certainly not without merit. We all at some point will have been a member of a team where there is a constant battle between several prominent ‘I’s’ and perhaps you were one of them. I am also guilty as charged.


Competing can feel good


If you are living in a western culture you will have learned that it is important to be seen and noticed. Striving for significance, respect and status within a group can often mean we end up either fighting or competing with other people, either overtly or covertly. If everybody competes then team activities are going to be fruity indeed. They are going to be overly noisy and information exchange is going to be difficult and messages unclear.


The ‘I’ can save the group from certain death


There seem to be a number of instances where having a strong ‘I’ can be essential to team effectiveness. One of these is accountability. We know in high performing teams, its members hold one another accountable for performance standards. Another key area is in decision making. Teams can drift into group think and nobody challenges the groups thinking. A strong ‘I’ can do this. The individual does not get subsumed by the group and ensures that their counter voice is clearly heard.


A mature ‘I’ can make a huge difference


The type of ‘I’ that comes into the group is essential. If the ’I’ is immature then the way the ‘I’ holds others accountable or the way it challenges group think can sound adolescent.  It can be received unfavourably.


A mature ‘I’ can make a real difference to team effectiveness. A mature ‘I’ can bring their voice in, and do so in a way that is respected and heard. It sounds considered, empathic and sagacious. It is also concerned with establishing the truth and finding the best solution for the team and the business.   


Transforming the ‘I’


Through increased self - awareness and behavioural training, MaST can significantly reduce the noise and increase the clarity in information exchange. We can do this by helping members, firstly recognise and then change competing behaviours in to sustaining cooperative behaviours. This also helps to create vitality in a group and a closer bond. 


To learn more about how MaST can transform your teams please contact

Mark Hawkswell on 0800 316 9090 or by email